My (Healthy) Thanksgiving Blitz

Applying a Healthy Eating and Fitness Plan to Tackle Thanksgiving

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Why the Thanksgiving Blitz?

Blitz is a Football term, this is when the defense sends extra pass rushers after the opposing team’s Quarterback. I chose this term because there is Football on Thanksgiving, and it is part of my strategy this year; I am going to get Thanksgiving this year, it is not going to get me!

Make a Plan

I recently created a blog post all about using planning and preparation to enjoy the Holidays, but not letting them derail your health and well-being. If you haven’t had a chance, please take a look and think about making your own plan!

Tips on Getting Started

  1. Make this winnable! I am using my plan as an example, not as a template for you. You may look at my routine and goals, and think “no way am I doing that, way too intense!” You also may look at my exercise routine and think “Dom, those lifts are weak sauce, need more  intensity!” Start with where you are, make goals to get better, execute your specific goals and plan so you can win.
  2. Write it down! You have to write down your goals, and write down your progress towards them. If you do not track goals and progress, you won’t have a sense of direction or accomplishment, and most likely lack motivation. You cannot hit a target that you cannot see.
  3. Make time! You need to make time in your week to grocery shop, meal plan, meal prep, and exercise. Add this to your calendar like you do a work appointment, or it will not happen.

If you don’t have time to make your health a priority, take a look at this video…Arnold and Linda will terminate your excuses!

My Plan

My plan is to focus on maintaining my frequency and intensity of exercise through the Holiday season, and to not gain weight or belt loop holes in between November-January. My Thanksgiving plan will be a good test and give me a progress report at the mid-point of the season.

My Specific Goals

I made myself some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hold myself accountable.

  1. Make sure that added Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol stay in the treat category (once per week max), focus on whole, unprocessed food being dietary staples.
  2. Keep weight on the scale, and belt loop the same, or improve them (I don’t want to have to loosen my belt on January 1, compared to November).
  3. Assure that my weekly frequency of cardio exercise stays the same, even when the weather gets colder.
  4. Add volume (reps and sets) to my upper body, body weight exercise routine of Pull Ups, Dips, and Push Ups.
  5. Assure to wear blue light glasses before bed each night, consistent bed time, strive for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

The plan will also include a weekly check in on these major goals, to see how I am doing, and any adjustments I may have to make to stay on track.

The Thanksgiving BlitzTime Frame

This blog post is documenting the time period of November 9-December 5, 2020. My plan is to assure complete focus on Health and Well-being leading up to, and immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. In my previous blog post, I outline the importance of enjoying the Holidays themselves, and also immediately getting back on your healthy plan. No one day is going to disrupt your health and fitness routine and progress, but developing unhealthy patterns day after day, week after week will. Make a plan!

I am committed to a post each week, to serve as an example of how you could make a plan, and also to help hold myself accountable. Let’s see how I did week 1!

Before Stats

Weight: 201.6 lbs

(Of note, if you have followed my previous blog posts, weight is up a bit from my post Keto blog post. I did allow some questionable habits to creep in on a recent week off from work, what a great opportunity to get back on track!)

Photo:

Belt Loop: 4th (4th is ok, 5th is better, 3rd is not good…higher belt loops=lower waist circumference)

Cardio Frequency: At least 2 walks (or equivalent) at least 1 jog (or equivalent) per week. Best run of a 4.9 mile loop, 48:30.

Best Body Weight Set: Pull ups 6,6,6,6; Dips 4,5,6,6; Push Ups 7,8,8,7 (done as a circuit, 1 exercise after the other)

Week 1 Daily Journal

Monday

Exercise: before work, 2.5 mile walk, around 50 minutes.

Bonus exercise, around 3.5 miles walked at work.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas 🍵 (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: about 3 oz roast pork; bowl of coleslaw with greens powder added, coleslaw made with cabbage slaw mix, cheddar cheese, and dressed with avocado mayo, salt, pepper; around 2 oz canned chicken with sriracha sauce; 2 spoons mixed nut butter.

Tuesday

Exercise: before work, weight training. Pull up 6,6,6,6; Dip 5,7,8,7; Push up 8,10,9,9; Total Gym row 12,12,12,10; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 10,10,10,10

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee ☕, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee

There are many ways to make this coffee, the basic concept is butter and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil in coffee. Coconut oil is a source of MCT, so I used one spoon of that, one spoon grass fed butter and a little sea salt, use milk frother to combine. A word of caution, if you don’t use the milk frother or a blender, you get an oil slick on top of your coffee.

The drink pictured contains 0 sugar, 0 carb, and around 230 calories if you are counting, which is significantly less than most latte/ cappuccino drinks. I discovered these drinks as part of my Keto plan, and find they help me with sustained energy and extending a fast.

During the work day, 2 green teas 🍵 (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Around 3oz today roast pork; bowl of Coleslaw and greens powder; 2 spoons mixed nut butter; 1 can herring with sriracha sauce.

Wednesday

Exercise: 4.9 mile run, 47:50, no walk breaks.

Food and Drink

Morning: Black coffee and water.

Around 8:30: Green tea.

Around 11 am: Bulletproof Coffee.

Around 3 pm: 3 spoons of mixed nut butter.

Around 5 pm: 3 spoons mixed nut butter with 2 spoons coconut oil.

*A Keto kind of day!

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 205- 5, 5; Kettlebell push press 35s- 10,10,10,10; Hanging leg raise 10,10,10,10

*Of note, I did not get as many work sets as I would have liked, I needed to start putting our basement back together after a contractor project. More on this under the challenges of the week section below.

Morning: Black coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof Coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas 🍵 (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: 3 Spoons of 10% Milkfat Greek Yogurt; bowl of coleslaw; around 5 oz roast pork with melted parmesan cheese and black pepper; 2 pickles.

Friday

Exercise: before work, 2.5 mile walk, around 50 minutes.

Food and Drink

Morning: Black coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas 🍵 (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: 3 Spoons of 10% Milkfat Greek Yogurt; bowl of coleslaw; 1 can herring; 2 pickles; side salad.

Saturday

Exercise: Leaf clean up (yes, yard work counts!), around 1 hour.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee and water.

*Rest of meals TBD-In the Interest of posting 🙂

Dietary Strategies I Use

Intermittent Fasting: Put simply, intermittent fasting is going period of time without eating or drinking anything with significant calories (black coffee has some calories, but does not break a fast). There are potential metabolic benefits to fasting, and it is also a strategy to help manage your overall intake of food in a day. If you eat breakfast at 6 am, dinner at 6 pm, and have late night snacks after dinner, your overall intake of food/calories will likely be higher than if you manage all meals within an 8 hour time frame each day.

The basic concept is to have a 16 hour fast, and an 8 hour period in which to eat your meals; this protocol can be adjusted to incorporate a longer fast and shorter eating period as well. The style I used this week was one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting.

This is something I have in my dietary toolbelt because I spent some time building this metabolic flexibility while trying out the Keto diet for 30 days. If you started off trying to manage with one meal per day, it may be quiet uncomfortable if you have not spent some time trying out fasting and adjusting. If you wanted to give intermittent fasting a try, here is an idea:

  1. Eat dinner at 6 pm after a normal day, no late night snacks.
  2. When you wake up, do not eat breakfast, only have black coffee, tea, or water (no sugar or artificial sweetener.
  3. If you get hungry before 10 am, drink plenty of water.
  4. Eat your first meal at 10 am.

You have just fasted 16 hours!

Hydration: Hydration is important with any nutrition plan, but especially with intermittent fasting. Your body will sometimes send signals that indicate hunger, when actually you are thirsty and just need some water. And when I say hydration, I mean pure, clean water…you can have other beverages during the day, but the majority of your fluid intake should be water. Here is a helpful previous post on Hydration.

Eliminate Trigger Foods: Trigger Foods are foods that you are unable to stop eating once you have even a little bit, and they are different for everyone. It doesn’t matter if the food is “healthy” or not, what matters is your ability to control intake and stop eating the food. Mixed nuts may be considered “healthy”, but for me they can be a trigger food, so they will not be on the menu during my Thanksgiving blitz.

Eliminate (or greatly reduce) Grain, Added Sugar, Alcohol: This is a strategy I picked up during my Whole 30, and found that there are exponential returns on your health and energy levels when eliminating these food and drink groups. If you think of your trigger foods from above, I bet you a vast majority of them either have grain, or added sugar (or, you have a harder time controlling them if you have a few drinks).

Make the Weekend Winning Time! Use the weekend to get even more sleep, spend more time meal planning, and do some fun movements and exercise. If you party, drink, have treats, and stay up late on weekends (every weekend), you take away progress you are working towards.

My Weekly Progress Report

  1. Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol were treats only.
  2. Weight on Friday, 197.6! and 5th belt loop, both improvements and nice recovery from my week off.
  3. I maintained my frequency of Cardio exercise.
  4. I maintained my routine and volume of my goal upper body exercises.
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, and logged 1 night of 7 hours uninterrupted sleep during the week.

Let’s Talk about Week 1 [Video]

Week 1 Video

Challenges this Week

So many! Going back to work while dialing my nutrition and sleep back in after a week off (of all) was challenging. I did not take a week off from sleep, but my routine was off, and that was hard to recover from.

I ran into a challenge on Thursday morning, and chose to sacrifice some of my weight training. We had a project completed by contractors Wednesday evening at our home, and I had to get a few things back in place in the basement/HVAC systems before going to work Thursday morning. My options were:

  1. Wake up earlier (sleep less) and complete the tasks, and complete my full training session.
  2. Wake up at normal time, and chip away at the tasks in between my exercise sets. 

I chose option 2, and it resulted in less sets of training than I would have liked (see Thursday daily journal for details). We all have to make these types of decisions when trying to look after our health. For myself, I had to decide…is this a legitimate reason to adjust my training, or am I just making excuses? Knowing that the tasks must be accomplished, I chose my full night of sleep over my full weight workout. Having a full night of a sleep and a little bit less training is more beneficial in my experience, for your overall energy levels that day (compared to less sleep and more training).

Staying accountable is a challenge, as you can see above. A journal is a great way to stay accountable. For my example, I am using this blog post as my journal, and made daily entries all week! Another great way to stay accountable is tell someone what you are doing. Even if you do not have a formal accountability partner, you are much more likely to follow through if you write your goals down, and tell someone. Just as I used this post as my journal, I also used it to tell people what I am doing…everyone on the internet! Well…at least everyone reading my post.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Next week I plan to continue my positive momentum on my nutrition, and also add some volume to my weight training. I will be mindful that next week will be a demanding week at my job, so adjustments may have to be made. Keeping up my routine of blue light glasses before bed and a consistent time to go to sleep will be important for working towards my goal of 7 hours each night. I will need to remind myself to stay accountable, and not make excuses!

See you next week!

2 thoughts on “My (Healthy) Thanksgiving Blitz

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Blitz-Week 2 | Dom's 10 Minute Health and Fitness Tips

  2. Pingback: The Thanksgiving Blitz-Tackle Turkey Day! | Dom's 10 Minute Health and Fitness Tips

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